10 Horrors That Don’t Need Screamers To Send Shivers Down Your Spine
If you like horror but despise jumpscares, you can safely check out these ten, as they rely on completely different ways to instill fear.
Despite the fact that screamers, also known as jumpscares, are often frowned upon, they are simply too effective on most viewers, so even the greatest horror movies use them quite frequently.
However, some entries in the genre prove time and time again that a horror movie doesn't have to include jumpscares (or at least keep them to a bare minimum) to send shivers down your spine.
So if you hate jumpscares but still want to enjoy some great horror movies, check out these ten.
1. The Witch (2015)
An impressive directorial debut for Robert Eggers, who went on to deliver 2019's The Lighthouse and 2022's The Northman, this period folk horror film is set in 1630s New England and revolves around a family banished from a Puritan settlement for religious reasons.
Now living on an isolated farm and barely surviving each day, the family is thrown into even more turmoil after a sudden tragedy turns everyone against young Thomasin, portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy.
2. The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg's classic body horror film makes up for its lack of jumpscares with truly haunting imagery, made possible by its extensive use of practical effects.
After brilliant scientist Seth Brundle, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, creates and tests a teleportation machine, he doesn't notice a fly entering the pod he was in.
Later, Brundle begins to notice subtle physical changes in himself that become more and more apparent as he slowly transforms into something not quite human.
3. Hereditary (2018)
With his first feature film, Ari Aster immediately solidified himself as a household name in the horror genre, as Hereditary is quite a challenge to watch, as it is deeply unsettling and terrifying without relying on screamers.
The sudden but seemingly ordinary death of the family's grandmother sets off a chain of sinister events that make it increasingly clear that supernatural forces are involved.
4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
A horror classic that has barely aged in the more than three decades since its release, this movie instills fear in the viewer through its incredibly well-acted characters.
Although most people instantly remember Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter (who is actually barely present in the movie), Ted Levine also did a tremendous job portraying Buffalo Bill, making every scene he is in quite disturbing.
The story follows an FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster, who is assigned to interview an imprisoned serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, with the hope that he will help capture another killer who is skinning women for an unknown purpose.
5. Midsommar (2019)
Another work by Ari Aster on our list, this film is unique in that, unlike many other entries in the genre, it takes place almost entirely in a bright and sunny location, which doesn't make it any less terrifying.
After a family tragedy leaves Dani, played by Florence Pugh, completely devastated, she is convinced by her boyfriend and friends to attend a midsummer festival in rural Sweden, which proves to be a life-changing trip for all of them.
6. Saint Maud (2019)
Starring Morfydd Clark as the titular Maud, proving that she is indeed a great actress, despite her somewhat controversial portrayal of Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power TV series, the film follows a former nurse who turned to religion after a gruesome accident at her previous job.
Now serving as a caretaker for Amanda, portrayed by Jennifer Ehle, a former dancer and choreographer whose outlook on life is drastically different from Maud's, her religious zeal makes it difficult to understand whether she is simply going mad or whether some supernatural events are actually taking place.
7. Possessor (2020)
Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of the aforementioned David Cronenberg, this sci-fi horror film, set in an alternate 2008, follows Tasya Vos, portrayed by Andrea Riseborough, an assassin who uses a special device to possess people's bodies.
However, prolonged use of the device leads to grim consequences, turning Tasya's latest job into a mind-bending nightmare that threatens her second, "normal" family life.
8. The Night House (2020)
After the sudden suicide of her husband, Owen, Beth Parchin, played by Rebecca Hall, falls into a never-ending alcohol-fueled depression, unable to come to terms with her loss and spending time going through his belongings.
As she digs deeper into Owen's past, Beth stumbles upon the floor plan of a house identical to theirs, only in reverse.
But the more clues she finds, the more supernatural events begin to manifest, suggesting that Owen was trying to protect his wife from something.
9. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
You've definitely seen at least one of the countless found-footage horror movies, most of which are pretty underwhelming, low-effort creations, but this 1999 film that brought popularity to the format still remains one of the best of them.
It chronicles the journey of three students who ventured to Burkittsville, Maryland to investigate a local myth about the titular Blair Witch, which resulted in all of them disappearing without a trace.
10. Get Out (2017)
With this film, Jordan Peele immediately proved himself to be a talented horror filmmaker, to the point that some fans believe he has never been able to top it since.
Regardless, Get Out remains a brilliant entry in the horror genre, spiced up with some bizarre yet clever twists and turns.
Chris Washington, portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya, is a bit nervous to finally meet the family of his girlfriend, Rose Armitage, played by Allison Williams, due to their interracial relationship.
Upon arrival, however, the Armitages are incredibly friendly to Chris, perhaps a little too friendly, treating him more like a curiosity because he is black.
The more time he spends with the family, the more suspicious Chris becomes, as something nefarious seems to be going on.